GEMS Middle-Upper School

GEMS World Academy is a private K–12 school in Chicago’s Lakeshore East community. Comprised of two buildings that maximize a restricted urban site, GEMS World Academy Chicago incorporates a robust educational program, including state-of-the-art technology in TEAL (technology-enabled active learning) classrooms that facilitate collaboration between students around the world. The project’s design takes a unique approach to creating space for K-12 education in urban contexts, moving away from traditional elementary school design, and instead of modeling the facilities on the latest innovations in vertical urban campuses for higher education.

Designed by BKL Architects, the Middle-Upper School is a new 16-story, 211,500 sf facility located on Wacker Drive. Cotter’s responsibilities include cash flow planning, lease negotiation, site acquisition, and feasibility studies. During construction Cotter is providing overall project management and construction administration. When complete, the new facility will house 1,440 students in grades 5-12 and will include a digital theater and media workshop, specialized science and design laboratories, 500-seat multi-purpose auditorium, library, and media center, and open common areas the promote student and teacher interactions and independent study groups.

Renderings provided by BKL Architects.

Chicago, Illinois



Square footage


Project completion

Did you know?

GEMS World Academy is unique in its state-of-the-art technology in TEAL (technology-enabled active learning).

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